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of the Baum Squad
Our group's research focuses on functional nucleic acids (RNA and DNA). RNA and DNA are well-known for their coding roles within a cell, but in recent years, new roles for nucleic acids have been discovered. Of particular interest are the binding and catalytic abilities of nucleic acids. Nucleic acids that have the ability to bind a particular ligand (ranging from small molecules, to proteins and even whole cells) with high affinity and high specificity are called aptamers. RNA and DNA with catalytic abilities are called ribozymes and deoxyribozymes, respectively. Our goal is to identify new activities for nucleic acids and to utilize these new aptamers and nucleic acid enzymes in studies touching the areas of biochemistry, analytical chemistry, environmental chemistry and others.